Kopec commits to Pace University’s field hockey team

Senior Anne Kopec of Oceanport led the Shore Regional field hockey
team as one of the team captains this season. Kopec will play Division II
field hockey for Pace University beginning in the Fall of 2023.


Senior Anne Kopec of Oceanport led the Shore Regional field hockey team as one of the team captains this season. Kopec will play Division II field hockey for Pace University beginning in the Fall of 2023.

As of July 2022, CHS senior Anne Kopec of Oceanport committed to Pace University for field hockey. It is clear why Kopec decided to go to Pace, with the field hockey team having a 70% win percentage in their 2021 season.

Kopec explains her decision-making process when it came to her commitment.

“It had to hit all the requirements,” Kopec said. “Pace had a good mix of everything. I get to play on a great field hockey team as well.”

There are no sports offered at CHS, adding another level of complexity to the situation for being a top athlete. Kopec’s sending district Shore Regional has an extremely successful field hockey program which continues to dominate season after season.

CHS health and fitness teacher Jennifer Baldaccin, describes the prosperity of Shore field hockey.

“[Shore field hockey] is a program that has a long history of winning, producing strong athletes and producing very strong field hockey players,” Baldaccini said.

When asked about overcoming challenges, Kopec expanded on how she made her dream a reality.

“I’m really excited. It’s been a dream for quite a while – since sophomore year, when I began looking at colleges,” Kopec said. “Honestly, it’s incredible to be playing at the collegiate level. I had those moments in the past where I felt like I wasn’t on the same level in field hockey, but I just kept pushing forward, strengthening my stick skills and everything else in general.”

Making a college commitment during the summer after junior year, earlier than most in her grade, Kopec expresses the serenity that arose in the aftermath.

“I know exactly where I’m going, that’s really the best part about it,” Kopec added.

Those in Kopec’s community are extraordinarily proud of her accomplishments. CHS health and fitness teacher, Ginny Clevenger, believes Kopec’s commitment is not only an exceptional achievement but also a huge weight taken off her shoulders.

“I think it’s awesome,” Clevenger said. “Think of the stress she doesn’t have to go through.”

Baldaccini agrees with Clevenger.

“Mentally, it’s a break for her. She doesn’t have to stress about ‘where am I gonna go?’ and all that. It’s exciting for her,” Baldaccini said.

Her teammates on the field are also happy for her success and are not afraid to share what an impactful member of the team Kopec is.

Oceanport resident Mackenzie Lockwood is a fellow Shore blue devil. Though Lockwood is on junior varsity, she explains how Kopec is a captain of the team and uplifts all members, regardless of grade level or ability.

“Anne is a really good captain,” Lockwood said. “She’s always so kind and supportive and encouraging to everyone.”

Shore Regional sophomore Teagan Harmon of Monmouth Beach describes how Kopec makes her field hockey life so much easier. Harmon plays goalie while Kopec plays center back, a defensive position.

“When the ball comes our way, I know nine times out of ten Annie will handle it,” Harmon says.

“She is an amazing defender and without her the team wouldn’t be able to function,” Lockwood added.

She has plenty to look forward to at Pace academically. With a leading interest in computer science, Pace University has an exceptional program. “I’m really excited for the flexibility and freedom of college overall,” Kopec says. “It has a great campus in addition to academics.”

In the end, this great accumulation of elements can be simplified down to one statement: Kopec loves field hockey. Kopec offers advice to those struggling to create a college blueprint to balance the hopes of a successful life and one’s personal passions.

“Just keep working at it. Even if you’re at your lowest, use [your passions] as motivation, and just keep working hard,” Kopec said. “Don’t give up on your dreams because I followed those dreams forever, and by following them, I got to where I wanted to be. So just keep going at it, and maybe you’ll reach that goal too.”